Addison Lee Vehicles Can Not Use Bus Lanes

Bike Biz alerted us to the fact that Addison Lee drivers have received a letter from the Chairman of the company, telling them to start using London bus lanes as of today.

The Chairman, John Griffin, wrote

Our legal advice is that bus lane regulations are currently being misinterpreted to exclude [private hire vehicles] from bus lanes. Such misinterpretation is unlawful.

What defines who is and who isn’t allowed in a London bus lane, is the Traffic Management Order for the bus lane. I’ve looked at several of these across several boroughs and they all have similar wording (obviously built from the same template). They state something along the lines of

In this Order- …. “bus”, “local bus”, “pedal cycle”, “taxi”, “traffic lane”, “contra-flow” and “with-flow
lane” have the meanings given in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General
Directions 2002

Looking at the TSRGD Regulation 23, we can not determine what the definition of a taxi is. Is a minicab / private hire vehicle a taxi?

TFL state the following

Only licensed taxis (black cabs) can pick up passengers on the street. Any minicab driver who picks up customers without a booking is acting illegally. This includes minicabs lined up outside pubs and clubs.

Taxis (black cabs) have a light on the front displaying the word ‘TAXI’.

Only taxis (black cabs) may be hailed by customers and picked up off the street. Minicabs cannot accept fares that have not been booked in advance

There are now around 3,200 licensed private hire operators, 60,000 licensed private hire drivers, and roughly 50,000 licensed private hire vehicles in London. In addition, there are approximately 22,000 licensed taxis (black cabs) and almost 25,000 licensed taxi drivers.

So TFL make it clear that there is a difference between a taxi and a private hire vehicle.

The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1988 states

No such advertisement shall include—

(a)any of the following words, namely “taxi”, “taxis”, “cab” or “cabs”

So Private Hire Vehicles are NOT allowed to be advertised as a taxi or as taxis.

So are Addison Lee a Private Hire Vehicles Operator?

When you become a driver with Addison Lee, you join London’s largest private hire operator

In 2009 a FOI request was put in to TFL by Patrick Raeburn asking them

Please can I have all information relating to Private Hire
Vehicle access to Bus Lanes.

TFL’s response was

TfL does not currently permit private hire vehicles into bus lanes on the
Transport for London Road Network (TLRN). Therefore, no information is

Addison Lee are trying to challenge the definition of TAXI used on the signs and in the Traffic Management Orders for London Bus Lanes. Under The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1988 and by TFL’s own wording, a private hire vehicle may not be classed or advertised as a Taxi. As such, Private Hire Vehicles are not allowed in London Bus Lanes which allow TAXIS.

TFL released a statement yesterday that said the following

Private hire vehicle drivers could be liable to personal criminal prosecution if they break traffic regulations, including by driving in bus lanes.

At last, TFL will be receiving praise from cyclists all across London. Addison Lee drivers are known to be some of the worst in London.

2 thoughts on “Addison Lee Vehicles Can Not Use Bus Lanes

  1. As I said on Twitter – its almost as if AL are trying to set a precedent by getting their drivers to do the “dirty work” for them. The sad fact is if a driver does decide to use the bus lanes then they are the one’s ultimately responsible and liable for prosecution.

    I have seen similar with other companies where the VED discs havent been issued to vehicles in time and drivers were told to carry out their deliveries. Almost as if nothing must stop the progress of business and making money, even certain legal parameters. In the end its always the little man who pays the price.

  2. Downfader – you’re right, and this needs to be said more – poor leadership, management and blaggers been seen as successful all lead to the little man paying the price. The cost is in his quality of life and stress levels, and look around – if all these little men got together and put that stress-effort into forcing management and politicians to do their jobs as well as they expect the little man to do when he has to pick up their pieces – well, life would change for the better, by any measurement.

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